Latest news on drug policy issues in the international media


  • Safe injecting room trial extended in North Richmond

    New facility slated for near Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne CBD
    ABC (Australia)
    Friday, June 5, 2020

    australia dcr kings crossVictoria will keep its supervised injecting room in North Richmond open for another three years and is set to create a second facility near Queen Victoria Market, the Government has announced. The North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room, which started as a trial in 2018, has been a controversial issue since before its creation and has been the subject of a community campaign against the facility. After a two-year review of the trial, an independent expert panel recommended a second facility be set up to take pressure off the North Richmond service. An independent review of the North Richmond facility found it had saved at least 21 lives.

  • Philippines police may have killed tens of thousands with 'near impunity' in drug war – UN

    Campaign of encouragement by high-level officials may have been seen by police as ‘permission to kill’, says damning report
    The Guardian (UK)
    Thursday, June 4, 2020

    phil end impunityTens of thousands of people may have been killed in the war on drugs since mid-2016 in the Philippines, amid “near impunity” for police and incitement to violence by top officials, the UN human rights office says in a report. The drugs crackdown, launched by President Rodrigo Duterte after winning election on a platform of crushing crime, has been marked by police orders and high-level rhetoric that may have been interpreted as “permission to kill”, according to the report. Police, who do not need search or arrest warrants to conduct house raids, systematically force suspects to make self-incriminating statements or risk lethal force. (See also: Children have become collateral damage with the Philippines’ “Drug War” scarring a generation)

  • Legalise it? Public invited to have a say

    The new proposal was based on Canada’s provincial and federal laws, as well as examples from the Caribbean
    The Royal Gazette (Bermuda)
    Thursday, June 4, 2020

    cannabis plantationDraft legislation for the legalisation of cannabis is to be put out for public consultation in Bermuda, the Attorney-General said. Kathy Lynn Simmons unveiled proposals for medical and recreational cannabis use in the Senate last December and the views of the public were also canvassed. But Ms Simmons said the original plans were seen to be “not going far enough” and “too complicated to be effective”. She added that the Government had amended the legislation to meet public expectations of “further decriminalisation of cannabis, to the greatest extent possible, via a regulated framework”. Ms Simmons said attitudes to the drug had evolved and that there was a recognition of the need for new industries. (See also: Bermuda government releases marijuana legalization bill for public feedback)

  • Police minister backs eased enforcement against cannabis users

    Responding to petition seeking annulment of laws barring recreational use and possession, Amir Ohana says he’ll seek to ‘minimize harm’ to offenders
    The Times of Israel (Israel)
    Wednesday, June 3, 2020

    Public Security Minister Amir Ohana signaled support for easing enforcement of laws against marijuana use. Ohana, whose ministry oversees the police, was responding to a High Court of Justice petition urging the court to annul the criminalizing of recreational marijuana use and possession. “The stance of the incoming public security minister is… to minimize harm as much as possible to [otherwise] law-abiding citizens who have offenses linked to the drug,” the ministry’s response said. It also said Ohana intended to appoint a team to weigh a more lenient policy toward recreational marijuana use.

  • Switzerland green lights recreational marijuana trial

    Cannabis should come from Swiss organic farming in order to benefit Swiss farmers
    The Local (Switzerland)
    Wednesday, June 3, 2020

    swiss cow cannabisSwitzerland’s National Council has approved a plan to start cannabis trials for recreational use. If it is to be legalised however, the government says it must be organic and grown locally. The study, which was approved by the National Council on Tuesday, hopes to find out more about the effects that a controlled legalisation of the drug would have in Switzerland. The decision to embark upon the trial was to be made in March but was delated due to the coronavirus pandemic. The experiments are to be carried out in Switzerland’s larger cities. Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva and Zurich have all expressed interest in conducting the trials. (See also: Le National favorable aux tests de distribution de cannabis bio)

  • Cannabis companies are finding it tougher than ever to navigate the market

    The industry is now in a situation where tens of companies are fighting for a much smaller pie than forecasted
    Financial Post (Canada)
    Tuesday, June 2, 2020

    Some of the biggest cannabis players when legalization took effect 20 months ago have successfully held on to their dominant positions, despite a year of bankruptcies, downsizings, revoked licences, executive firings, mass layoffs and a long market selloff. Licensed producers such as Aphria Inc. and Aurora Cannabis Inc., have increased their market share during the past few quarters due partly to strong sales of dried flower and cannabis 2.0 products such as edibles and vape pens, while Canopy Growth Corp.’s share has substantially eroded from its peak 18 months ago. Just a handful of companies or so hold more than 95 per cent of the legal Canadian market, according to company filings, interviews with cannabis analysts and data from cannabis intelligence firm Headset. 

  • The controversial new deployment of US troops in Colombia

    These troops will provide support in areas across Colombia high in coca production and drug trafficking
    InSight Crime
    Tuesday, June 2, 2020

    US Army ArrivalThe decision to send US troops into Colombia to help against drug trafficking is a troubling one, whether as part of the two countries’ security strategy or connected to broader efforts against Venezuela. On May 28, the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) issued a statement that its 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) would support “enhanced counter-narcotics cooperation” in Colombia with no limit set on its deployment. The head of Colombia’s armed forces, Gen. Luis Fernando Navarro, later added some details about the anti-drug mission. According to El Tiempo, he stated the SFAB troops would be in Colombia for four months, providing “tactical” advice to “improve operations against drug trafficking.”

  • Former PM, police investigator, among Kiwis backing cannabis legalisation campaign

    Cannabis could soon be legalised in New Zealand, and it's up to voters
    Stuff (New Zealand)
    Tuesday, June 2, 2020

    nz cannabis referendumThe New Zealand Drug Foundation's "Our Own Terms" campaign features Tim McKinnel, alongside former Prime Minister Helen Clark, psychiatrist Hinemoa Elder and educator Richie Hardcore, among others, encouraging the country to vote Yes in the upcoming cannabis referendum. "The system as it is now is a free-for-all, it's unregulated and uncontrolled and forces people to dip their toes into the black market," said McKinnel, who spent several years on the police drug squad. "Police spend a great deal of time and money fighting cannabis, with helicopter recovery operations, or with uncovering underground growing operations. It's a drain not only on policy but on our courts and prisons."

  • Cannabis cultivation in Albania expected to increase

    Despite raids, Albania continues to hold a bad reputation as Europe's cannabis hub
    Tirana Times (Albania)
    Monday, June 1, 2020

    albania cannabis flagAlbania is expected to see an increase of cannabis production in the wake of the coronavirus. According to a report compiled by Europol, the cultivation of herbal cannabis is expected to increase as law enforcement resources are diverted to enforce compliance with COVID-19 restriction measures. The report points out that certain trafficking routes from the Western Balkans are still in use, based on recent large seizures of herbal cannabis in Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. In addition, in early May, a one metric tonne seizure of herbal cannabis was reported near the Albanian-Greek border. (See also: Cop among 37 arrested in Albania-Italy drugs op)

  • Cannabis: high potency strains linked to greater chance of anxiety – new research

    Despite it’s popularity, there’s still a lot that researchers don’t know about how cannabis, including how it affects our mental health
    The Conversation (UK)
    Saturday, May 30, 2020

    cannabis budNumerous studies have now shown that people who use cannabis have a higher likelihood of experiencing mental health problems. The potency of the drug – and how often it’s used – are likely to play a role in this relationship. Different types of cannabis have different levels of a component called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). “High potency” cannabis has higher amounts of THC. Our recent study compared people who said they used high potency cannabis with those using lower potency cannabis. We found that the people who used high potency cannabis were more than four times as likely to report symptoms of cannabis misuse, and almost twice as likely to report anxiety disorder. (See also: Can we make cannabis safer?)

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